No country should suffer from violence the way Afghanistan does. No people deserve peace more than Afghans. Yet, there is no sign Afghanistan would be able to overcome its seemingly endless conflict soon. The intractable war has certain unachievable goals that must be secured for the United States. And if Afghanistan is totally destroyed in the process, no problem. America's warlords are willing to waste countless more Afghan lives to achieve their military aims in Asia.It was not supposed to be this way when George W. Bush's Crusade warriors set out to conquer Afghanistan following the terrorist strikes in the US in 2001.
There are reports the U.S. Army is readying about a thousand additional troops for deployment to Afghanistan where they will link up with some 14,000 other U.S. service members tasked with an unachievable mission.
Steve Coll’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Ghost Wars” laid out in gut-wrenching detail the chain of events that led from one modern war in Afghanistan -- against the Soviets -- to the Sept. 11 attacks and the brink of another conflict. When the book came out in 2004, the US-led war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda seemed on the wane, at least compared to the then-raging insurgency in Iraq. Soon, however, with the aid of their longtime sponsors in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, the Taliban would reconstitute their movement and seize control over great swathes of the Afghan countryside, dueling the US and the Afghan Army to a stalemate. If current trends hold, the US will in the not-too-distant future be sending soldiers to the “graveyard of empires” that hadn’t even been born on 9/11.
In August 2017, US President Donald Trump had punted on a new “Afghan Plan” that envisaged a higher degree of commitment, aggression, “boots-on-the-ground” and the calling of the Pakistani bluff on its insincere “fight against terror”. The intended squeeze on the terror infrastructure in Afghanistan was expected to drive the caged Ashraf Ghani government towards reclaiming territories beyond Kabul and the other urban clusters. The plan was predicated on pressuring the Pakistanis to stop sustaining the Afghan Taliban and other ISI-supported outfits like the Haqqani Network, with the ultimate gameplan of coercing various terrorist outfits onto the negotiating table for a political solution in Afghanistan.
US President Donald Trump announced this week that his administration would reject talks with the Afghan Taliban, a decision that commits the United States to pressuring the Islamist movement on the battlefield through the first phase of the Trump presidency.
Heaven knows, even if our politicians and generals don’t, that while we haven’t conclusively lost the war in Afghanistan, we surely haven’t won it. And if we haven’t won the war by now, we’re surely not going to. This fact was hammered home— not for the first time— late last month. In four attacks over just nine days, more than 130 people were killed by terrorists. Some by the Taliban, some by ISIS. As if it matters.
After 16 years of war in Afghanistan, experts have stopped asking what victory looks like and are beginning to consider the spectrum of possible defeats.
They were hardly the first Taliban attacks in the capital. Still, there was something particularly alarming in their scale and implication about the pair of episodes, just a week apart, that rocked Afghanistan: a hotel siege that killed 22, then a car bomb, loaded into an ambulance, that killed 103.
On Saturday, a suicide bomber packed a fake ambulance with explosives, drove to a hospital in central Kabul and set off an explosion that rocked the Afghan capital. At least 103 people were killed and 235 wounded. The attack, claimed by the Taliban, was one of the deadliest in the country's history.